tv U.S. House of Representatives CSPAN October 10, 2012 10:00am-1:00pm EDT
you with us? caller: yes. it is so hard to have a trend of thought listening to the sound cracks on the phone and trying to watch the conversation on tv. i watched a program last night where obama took a 7 $7 million into programs to try to find the abuses in medicare. and i work with the girls. who would rather stay a victim, you know, mitt romney was right. and we make it very hard. they do not have to report. no one has to report looking for a job. and they do feel like victims. they have a free housing, free medical, they get a check, they have food cards, they get their utilities.
and the girls i talked to say, why risk losing that and get married and get a job? so, we have talked to a lot of doctors who seem like they want to have the decisions with their patients and have been approved by obamacare. and also, i was wondering how much did obamacare take from medicare? i am on medicare. like i said, mitt romney was right. they do feel like victims. it is a very scary. host: we got your point. guest: in terms of the cuts to obamacare -- medicare, that is over 10 years, not all at once. it is not to the beneficiaries.
mostly specialty providers is where it would come from, not your daily position or your monthly physician. that is where he gets the money from. host: north augusta, south carolina. an independent their, donna. caller: a want everyone to know this, medicare is awful. i have cancer right now. my doctors that i had, i had cancer three times and two years. at a very close to my doctor because he saved my life. and he quit because of this darn health care bill. and i also have another doctor who stopped. that is the thing people do not know. you are not going to have a doctor. it is awful. and i am sick of this.
host: how do know you are not going to have a doctor? caller: it is my doctor. i am losing the dr.. that is how i know. i am not going by a democrat or republican and what they said, i am going by reality. i am living in it right now. host: we will go to catherine now. the democratic caller there. go ahead. are you with us? caller: hello. i am trying to figure out why obama [indiscernible] i do not think that is right. [indiscernible] he was a good man. trying to do all of those
things. host: on twitter -- the popularity has gone up? guest: yes. since the supreme court ruled that the kaiser reputation has been calling it every month since it was passed. it is still not extremely popular. but instead of being about 44%, the court ruling as about 50%. not all people who oppose it oppose it because, some people oppose it because they wish it were more. one caller said i want signal government their options for everybody. there are different reasons. but it is starting to be on an upward tick. host: thank you very much. thank you for being with us. guest: thank you for having me. host: that does it for today. back tomorrow at 7:00 a.m.
live coverage on c-span. >>. good morning. thank you for coming. welcome to the roll out of the price of inaction, analysis of energy and economic effects of a nuclear iran. let me begin with an apology if i met. to have a board meeting in chantilly, virginia this morning in which transformational decisions will be made. and i am also and investor, so i have a more than passing interest and will not be able to remain for the entire presentation. but wanted to come in to help kick off this road out of our most recent paper. p. i am here today as a member of the bipartisan center board. out of the co-chaired the iran project for almost five years. with chuck wald.
there is an overwhelming bipartisan support in washington among both presidential candidates and across the country for preventing a nuclear iran. in the public debate during the last year or so, a recurring concern has been the economic risks posed by the available means for preventing a nuclear iran. whether it through tough sanctions or military action. economic risks are eight legitimate concern. but inaction also poses economic risks. the purpose of the paper we are releasing today is an attempt to illustrate some of the economic costs that would emanate from the impact of a nuclear iran. we do not suggest that these will be the only costs that the united states would bear by any means. there would be a myriad of consequences indirect and direct, only some of which can be foreseen or quantified.
we concluded, simply that heightened expectation of instability and supply disruptions triggered by the prospects -- consequences of a nuclear iran would cause the price of oil to go much higher and to remain high for a sustained duration of time. significantly impacting the united states economy. the price and economic impact would be much greater if these occurred. we hope that this paper which is a departure from the focus of most papers on the consequences of a nuclear iran or a nuclear capable iran will trigger a new discussion and enable an expanded debate on the topic. i would like to introduce michael, the foreign policy director of the bpc, a former oil analyst to boot. he directed this effort and will review some of the key findings.
he will introduce our very distinguished panel. mike. >> thank you, senator. thank you everyone for coming. as the senator said, the purpose of this report is really to trigger a debate. we are not suggesting that we have all of the answers, but we wanted to introduce a new dimension to the debate about iran about preventing a nuclear iran. we are not -- focusing on the economics, we are not suggesting the economic issues should drive united states policy one way or another. but it has definitely come up in the debate. it has been raised, certainly in terms of let us say about the
impact on sanctions and military, so we wanted to say, let us fill out this debate more. was the cost of inaction. when we talk about a nuclear iran, maybe a more important consideration, strategic concerns, the human aspect, you know, what would happen if there are conflicts and so on? those are preeminent concerns. but the economic concern is very legitimate. and it has been raised when we have a tough economy as we do right now. that is what we wanted to try to address. and we hope that -- we think the policy makers need to consider. let me raise, it is a complex issue, complex for us as we grappled with it. let me discuss exactly what our methodology was, and what our
key findings are. our approach, briefly, and there are many ways you could skin this, but as the center said, there are myriad consequences. summit could foresee, some you could not. -- some you could foresee, some you could not. we focused on the economic consequences based on the energy consequences. water the energy consequences and what does that mean for the united states economy? there are other consequences better not energy related. our approach was to basically consider five plausible defense that could follow a nuclear iran and have an impact on oil supply and demand over three years. some were probable -- more plausible but others. the five are greater political stability in saudi arabia, more
attacks on saudi arabia facilities, potential saudi- iranian nuclear exchange, and potential is really a nuclear exchange, and what happens if a nuclear iran allows the to affect the oil market. we took these events. and assigned probabilities to the events. and we assess how it would impact the risk premium of the oil price. and to be clear, markets -- clean oil markets react to change expectations for future supply and demand. people often think, if there is a disruption, the market is affected. obviously is. but the expectation of change in supply and demand alone affects the market. and that is more of the focus of our report, on the expectation.
once the book of how these expectations will affect the market, we bending macroeconomic analysis on what this would -- how it would impact the united states economy. our key findings were these -- again, the report if you have it with you, let me summarize this quickly. we think the expectation alone of instability and conflict that a nuclear iran could trigger could have these impacts. it could increase the price of oil but about 10% or 25%. it would roughly mean it would change every day. -- it would mean about $10 or $27 a barrel higher. within three years they could increase 30% per barrel.
and if those things actually happened, inflation could be projected to rise about 1%, according to a loss of about 1 million jobs in the united states. and g.d.p. could drop by more than 1%, which would equate to about $220 billion. if any of the conflicts or inner disruptions we discussed actually occur, then the implication and the consequences would be far more significant. let me give two examples, and the case of less say significant instability and saudi arabia, or saudi iran and nuclear exchange come in the -- world prices would double, gasoline prices could increase more than 70%. at the pump.
a significant recession. inflation could skyrocket by almost 5%. unemployment increased by almost 4%. which would translate into 5 million more people out of work. let me give a caveat. current models -- current economic models are really ill equipped to predict how the world would react to nuclear exchange. no nuclear exchange and world war ii. but we use current models. we could get into that. based on current models, to some extent, that is what we came up with. the consequences could be even more dramatic because we have
really no precedents of this. so those are our key findings. again, i think the economic consequences could be significant, just purely the energy related consequences. as i said, the strategic consequences, human consequences -- they are even more important. but i think this is a provocative report. and i mean that in a constructive way. i think it should be very thought-provoking. and to help discuss that, i think we have a good panel. we have susan here, the editor of foreign policy who will moderate this. we have ambassador dennis ross, for former senior obama white house administration official. in a task force member.
we have daniel, the chief commodity economist at citibank . also a task force member. and we of stephen, a former assistant secretary of state for non-proliferation, current. i will turn it over to susan. i want to add some more things. we have a review board. we had never done this before. with a task force -- had issued a number of iran reports of the last four or five years. because this is such a complex issue, we added a review board of other energy experts and economists. and it is in the report about who they are. there were very constructive and helpful to us about how to think about this. we thought it would be useful to of outside experts to help guide us in the energy and economic experts, even though we have a
couple of energy and economic folks at the center, i was an oil analyst years ago. but this is complex stuff. and we thought the outside stuff was used all. i also want to thank and acknowledge dan in the front row, also a task force member. and i also want to thank, in particular, in my group -- and also jonathan, who worked incredibly hard to produce this. i am very grateful for all of their work. and i want to thank ashton and elisa and joanne for all of their other help. ado, i willther turn it over to susan and sit down. >> thank you very much, michael. and i think you to all of you for coming this morning.
i think as michael said, there is a lot of provocation. let us provoke a real conversation around this. starting with the title, the price of inaction. which is a point of view from the task force. i also want to bring in daniel pretty quickly to walk us through what really were the assumptions, what were you not able to factor in coming into these numbers. i thought i would start with ambassador ross. perhaps you could give us a picture into these five scenarios. how likely or unlikely are they right now? certainly iran is in the news every day. i think it takes a few -- [no audio]
>> when will look at the character, the turmoil speaks for itself. we should assume that it is somehow going to be a time limited. it is what i call the era of awakening. is an awakening from the standpoint of many people for the first time see themselves as citizens. and as citizens, they think have a voice and they can make amends. they should be able to create accobity.avstitutns that all t create that accountability. but they have expectations. that awakening has not really expressed itself so far in the gulf states. partly because they have a kind of wherewithal where they can deal with a lot of potential discontent. but one should not assume that it cannot at some point express
itself in a variety of ways. the first point in response to your question, terminal is for some -- turmoil is for some time to come. the second point is, there's an ongoing competition between the iranians and the saudis. we sit as expressed in a lot of places. syria is a focal point for that now. but we have seen, excuse me, we have seen the turmoil which is a home run in many respects. but also, the saudis see it -- we have seen increased turmoil with saudi arabia. here again, you could say there are many reasons for this. but the saudis proceed. here is a context, you take the nuclear issue, and i know from my own direct experience with the saudis, they have made an unmistakably clear -- have made
it unmistakably clear that if they acquire these weapons, they will. if they get it, we get it. that relates to the kind of -- at least the context of which this paper was being written, that immediately would create a new reality in the area. it would immediately create a set of expectations about the potential for much greater disruption down the road. i would to the point of departure for the paper is quite realistic in terms of, if you are born to take a look at the title you said is thought provoking if nothing else, there is unmistakably a price of action geared of military action were used, you would see an immediate destruction. my sense is that it could be time-limited. if you compare that to a situation where iran has a nuclear weapon, the saudis have nuclear weapons come and the potential risk that the scene and that is going to express itself in terms of the risk of- premium prices.
would there be a war between the iranians and the saudis? the book have nuclear weapons, that would create recognition on their part, there would be a high price to be paid. there would be likely a gap in terms of time. when the iranians and saudis have it. it is hard to imagine iran with nuclear weapons behaving more responsibly than it does today. it is hard to imagine that they do not see themselves as having any leverage within the area. it is hard to imagine that they do not see themselves dissolving a shield to which they can engage in a higher degree of coercion and their proxy can engage in a higher degree of coercion with impunity. i think that is one of the build and scenarios that is quite realistic as well. you know, whether you have a nuclear war, and not about to predict that, i do not think the scenario is unnecessarily predictive. what they are meant to be, is to offer an illustration that you run a pretty high risk once you
have iran with nuclear weapons. president has spoken moderate recently in a speech to the united nations when he spoke about the threat that represents in terms -- to israel's existence, to the gulf states, to the global economy, to non proliferation and the survivability of that after you have 12 resolutions of the board of governors from the six resolutions of the security council saying the same thing, three american administrations that said they cannot have it, and then they have in it. to think that does not have an impact on psychology would be an understatement. the last one i would make is, directing the potential for conflict if they have it goes up immediately? i think instability increases. the notion that the cold war scenario -- were you have a
bilateral -- a bilateral reality of united states and soviet union, where we actually had to communication, and hot line. between iran and israel, there is no communication at all. there may not be communication, but one thing that would exist is the reality of where no one like the that the states and soviet union -- nobody there will have that. and so, i think they will all databases of having a kind of finger on the trigger. a region where conflict is the norm, not the exception. it would not make me so comfortable that conflict, and nuclear conflict at some point could not happen. even if it doesn't happen immediately come to think you will have a stable reality and the rules of the road that
defined this is a real stretch. >> clearly, the lands to which this report is looking at that set of questions is not so much in the strategic or even the psychology of what and iran with nuclear weapons would be, but why the numbers specifically for the lens of oil prices. maybe you can walk us through what some of your assumptions were as you made those calculations? and what were some of the surprises? apparently, it is not surprising to tell people that oil prices will go up. in the case of increased stability or the perception of instability and a possible nuclear conflict in the gulf? we all get that could lead to higher oil prices. what did you learn? >> that is a really great question, susan. it was an interesting exercise.
what the report did. to try to look at the economic consequences. and even there early, through the lens of what would happen to the economy through just higher oil prices, we did find some surprises. before i get into that, i just want to start with a caveat, the joke being, one and of an economist is one hand of the other hand. -- one hand of an economist is one hand of the other hand. it is an exercise in counterfactual. enough to think about a world in which they do not become a nuclear versus a world in which they do become a nuclear and see how and these two a different universes', how the various markets, agents, households would react. and for something as complex as the oil market, the united states economy much less the
global economy, there is quite a lot of mechanisms and feedback loops that we will have to consider. i would say that the results in the report, while they are pretty striking, and i will say that one immediate thing that i left out of the page was the degree to which the united states economy is still vulnerable to a classic oil price shock like we saw in the 1970's, despite all of the progress that the united states has made sense, in terms of energy efficiency and achieving that hydrocarbon self proficiency, energy independents. >> with the explosion, and shell gas and new oil production in north america, you still see us as being for the foreseeable future quite dependent on what happens here?
>> yes. on the other hand, another thing that was perhaps surprising was that because this is not happening in a vacuum, and this is happening as the united states economy is still struggling to get over the after effects of the global financial crisis of 2007, we, i would say most economists would consider an reassumed in the model that the united states is still quite far away from its potential growth rate and its potential rate of employment. and while this can have pretty damaging and catastrophic consequences in the short term, under the worst-case scenario where iran and saudi arabia have a nuclear exchange, by the time, say 2015 or 2020, the damage can
be healed fairly rapidly because the united states is in the position people of already -- in the position of already becoming healed of the aftereffects of 2007. >> and their five scenarios, there's only one in which oil prices do not go up. and that is an interesting scenario under which in fact, what happens is that the sanctions that there worked so hard to put into place basically collapse as a result of the world regime. now they are nuclear and we have to live with it. and wouldn't we rather have access to the oil in particular asian partners and some europeans? that is the scenario? why that scenario? and for both of you, about how likely is that one? the scary picture of armageddon we are painting with the other scenarios. >> as i said to mike, i actually
think this is another example of a scenario you are putting in for a lesser purposes. i do not think that is this likely cured the reason why, because it should iran acquire nuclear weapons, while it is clear that have got it, let us go back and take advantage of the need to access. i think there will be a strong position nationally to say, they have broken all of the rules, they have to continue to pay a price. if we want to somehow preserve what they are doing the path they are on, they have to see the price high. the scenario was in there too -- for completeness sake, to suggest that there could be one scenario -- when you do continue the planning, you think
about consequences. you are still trying to measure with the consequence could be. it is a valuable. but i do not know that it is all that realistic in terms of reality. >> i want to bring and stephen and mike. was recalled as the price of inaction. should we be looking at the price of action as well. and your take on how likely or not you see any of these scenarios right now? >> i have views on the likelihood of a lot of scenarios. i agree with much of what he said. the first time he talked, p i agree with what you just said. but to go back and answer the first question, i think obviously there can be disagreements about the methodology and the precise percentages that are presented in the report. i do think the underlying point that there is an economic cost,
and measurable economic cost to inaction, that is undeniable. especially after reading the entire report. i would hate to see it get into a quarrel about the methodology. because i think we would lose the audience. and economists might ensure that, but the rest of us would find ourselves very lost. but i think it is important addition to the public debate that in addition to the obvious fact that a war, united states military action or israeli military action would have a disruptive effect on the world economy, theron be a price tag associated with that, it is important to recognize that there's also a price tag allowing iran to acquire nuclear weapons. that is why the commission's report -- it is a very useful contribution to the continuing debate. i think economists have work to the question of what would be the cost of a global economy,
and military strike on iran. those reports are out there. and they can be compared to the price tag. they noted in this report, those costs compared to the costs identified here, and then economists candidate. and i certainly do not want to get into that debate myself. but i think there's a cost in either direction. on the saudi issue, maybe i will respond to something dennis said. i think looking at that saudi scenario is one of the more interesting ones to consider, because i think dennis is absolutely right. the saudis will not -- will be among the most concern of all of the observers if iran succeeds in acquiring a nuclear weapon. and the likelihood they will feel that they need to acquire their own is high. what is not been thought through is what the united states reaction will be at that moment.
i would like to touch on that. if there is an iranian nuclear breakout, we would be on the cost of what everyone has talked about, what president obama talked-about at the u.n., the cascade of proliferation, the unraveling of the regime. that is what would follow from the saudi opposition of nuclear weapons, because it does not probably stop saudi arabia. there are other countries in the area that will want them as well. preventing that will become a very high priority for united states foreign policy. and by preventing that, i mean preventing the saudis from responding. we do not want to end up there, but think that is where we are the moment it becomes clear that they have nuclear weapons. what we do? one thing we will do, and quite confident is to apply the cold war deterrence model can and try to persuade the saudis that they weapons if anuclear
they are the victim of a nuclear attack. i think there's a lot of reason to think that we might not be as persuasive and making that case to the saudi government as we work to the germans and other allies during the cold war. another thing, we will go to the saudis and say, we will keep in place in sanctions regime. you are trying to walk back iran's nuclear program. as long as we are desperately seeking to prevent that cascade of preparation by stopping the saudis from taking a second step, there's a good chance with a whole the sanctions regime in place. i think if we fail, and that the saudis acquired nuclear weapons, what do we do? recension saudi arabia? economically, it would be hard to do that. the likelihood is that we do
not. and there's no u.n. security council penalizing them for what they have done. there's a double standard issue. we are sending one side, not the other. i put this question to them. in that kind of scenario, or the casket a proliferation has begun, we are acquiesced their response by our allies to what iran has done, can we maintain -- a double standard? or at that point, do we say, it was a good idea, similar to what happened in south asia, it was a good idea, unfortunately it failed. let us go back to work as usual. >> that is a great question to throw at you, you have directly engaged with the saudis on this question. the beverly said to you, our plan is to get in nuclear weapon if they are required buy iran. what is the united states
government's position on this? >> prevention. because we consider the consequences are likely to be. steve races a fair point. i do think that we will make -- and those circumstances, we would make a major effort. it would fail. one of the reasons, is because, and this is not just theoretical, i had discussions with the saudis, and when the king said if they get it, we get it, i was duty bound to describe what the consequences would be cured and after 10 minutes of being a highly eloquent on this subject, he said to me, if they get it, we get it. there is a reality that they see their main competitor from every standpoint. including a religious standpoint. having an advantage over them. having a technological advantage. having a military advantage.
they are not going to accept that. i think the reason our policy is prevention is because we understand what the consequences will be if we do not succeed in maintaining this. that is the point about containment. containment does not prevent the saudis for making this decision to go ahead and do this. and our ability to persuade them along the lines of, look, you can count on our insurance. i said before, the obama administration would be the third american investors and that says they cannot have this. right after the acquired this, we are going to go in and say, never mind, you can accept our insurance. they are not going to accept the insurance because they have already seen that what we said was not going to hold. the reason is so important to have prevention as an objective is that containment will fail if it comes to with least that
measure. >> daniel, quickly, because i want to get to mike on the title of this report and what you think it implies in terms of policy. but quickly, steve referenced the studies that have been done on the price of action, can you give us a sense of what they have been and how they compare with your own studies on the price of inaction? >> certainly. the literature on the relationship between oil prices and the economy is a long and rich one. that is still ongoing. and there have been studies in which -- have minimized the consequences, arguing that the main angle by which the damage occurs is not so much through the higher oil prices per se, but rather to the general
inflation that it unleashes and the forcing of the federal reserve to tighten rates and cool down the economy to combat the that. >> you are not talking about specifically in the case of a strike on iranian facilities, and the journal science about an oil price shock? >> regarding the strikes on -- in nuclear exchange or strikes on facilities per cent, it becomes a lot more challenging. and i think this study is a fairly pioneering one in terms of trying to put some hard numbers on a the actual economic consequences. simply because it is very hard indeed to get a good grasp on how the psychology of markets is going to respond. if you just looked at how oil markets have responded in the past few weeks with seemingly unexplainable spikes and drops,
no less than 3 or four times in the last two weeks alone, you begin to grasp just how complex it is to make an assessment when these markets themselves to not exactly know how to price this in. one more thing that i think may be a useful segue to your question to mike about the price of inaction. the -- one scenario that we did in this study is what happens if we let sanctions last, but we take as -- the existence of a nuclear iran. that would bring in the a risk premium into the oil markets. and it would be a -- different
than a national exchange and that you might see an immediate destruction that causes oil prices to spike. but all of that eventually reverses. and that, by the way, getting back to an earlier point i made, or ultimately, the united states economy will try and get back to full employment and therefore have some positive growth impact after the initial damage has been done. in the case of a permanent risk premium that enters into markets, because now they understand that there is a much more significant risk that can be a much more devastating scenario, if tensions escalate, there is no way that the united states 10 fully recover from that kind of permanent paradigm shift in the oil markets.
so, getting to the price of inaction, there is a very significant price of inaction as well as a price of action, which is why obviously, this is such a complex and difficult topic. -- for ambassadors to tackle. >> mike, as an energy analyst, as well as your current position, the price of action versus the price of inaction, what are your thoughts? >> as you mentioned a few minutes ago, we cited in a report a couple of the reports that have come out about the cost -- if there's a military strike. one report surveyed 25 experts and said this is what prices would do if there was a military strike. we also side, there was recently a jpmorgan report that actually
said that the cost actually would not be that high, that oil prices would not spike that high if there was a military strike. estimates vary. some say the cost would be very high, others. jpmorgan said they would not be as high. we have found, and this get your point about why we titled as the price of inaction, as to the price of action, those general in the debate, and somewhat in the financial world, which you read in the op-ed pages and editorial pages among politicians -- when people bring up the economic argument, it is usually about the cost of action. if we of tough sanctions on iran, which we have a right now, this was a debate months ago -- and there was a back-and-forth about that. higher oil prices. and then there are those who say we cannot strike militarily because the oil market would
spike -- prices would spike and it would hurt the economy. president obama -- dennis alluded to this. in his u.n. generally assembly speech, he talked -- u.n. general assembly speech, he talked about this. we have found that nobody has filled that out. what is the cost of allowing a nuclear iran. dennis pointed out, our policy is prevention here in our view is -- the bipartisan policy center puts out a number of reports over the past four or five years, you have to prevent a nuclear iran. tough sanctions and military action as a last resort. thay have said pretty much the same thing. a last resort. we have to prevent a nuclear iran. bipartisan agreement -- more on
this issue than any other issue right now about preventing a nuclear iran. but still, i think it has distracted a lot of people about what if we fail? what if we do not do what is necessary? look, if he did not prevent a nuclear iran, however you feel whether it is because sanctions -- ifot tough enough, iranian they go ahead despite our tonings -- we just want enlarge the debate. we have not seen anyone else do it. that is why we have done their report. >> i want to get questions from the audience. of people with microphones. if you can identify yourself and make it a question, that would be great. >> dennis, i am going to ask an economic question. if there is a cost to -- my name
is mark, former bush administration official. i want to go back to the issue of the cost. you'd say there's a cost to inaction, it cost to action could? could be that those costs are already included in the high price of oil at present? the extraordinarily high costs we are seeing have already been factored in by the traders? if one makes the argument that there will be other spikes regardless of other scenarios, traders are already taking that into account and have already factored in to the price. how much additional price you think will be added in? or have the market's already factored in the cost of action or inaction to the current price of oil? >> that is a great question. i will be interested to hear. in the study, we made the
assumption that part of the risk premium was already priced in. it is a whole other debate. how much i actually markets are taking this into account. also get into questions around how much actual spare capacity there is in the oral markets, we look ail markets. i can tell you my own personal opinion based on my research. my research suggests that if it wasn't for this risk premium, while prices should be somewhere around $85 a barrel. and so, about $15 depending on whether you look at wti or the other.
i am not just -- not just the from an -- but anything tha domestic instability, everything else included. so, you are absolutely right. that the markets have already taken into -- taken the risk into account to a degree. however, obviously, prices will spike if there is a physical disruption. and markets will have to price in a higher risk premium if iran does become a nuclear and now markets have to reassess a world in which there could be this proliferation, there could be a lot more heightened tensions, stronger pillage rents from iran, and potential concerns
about pipeline flows, everything will have to be reexamined. >> let me also address that general. i want to qualify what this report does and does not carry not predicting what the oil price would be. we are saying, if the market had the same view we do, we think the price will move accordingly. i think one of the challenges here and when you are trying to -- we have a diverse group of oil people, finance people, military people. and no one is an expert in everything. political people are not often as comfortable with the economic issues. rihanna market is not fully informed about all the political issues, either. for example, as we talked about before, thereby to get nuclear weapons if the iranians do.
-- they are going to get nuclear weapons if the iranians do. apparently some market people missed that. i read everything dennis says. but some people may have missed it in the market. therefore, let us say that there's a nuclear iran. well, let us say there is not a nuclear saudi arabia. the chance is is your right now. but if they get nuclear weapons, the possibility of a nuclear exchange is still very low, but it is not 0 anymore. it is higher. the state is 10%, 5%, 15%. you could argue about the probabilities, but it is not the zero anymore. what people in the markets call black swans, tell risk, low it needs to be consequenc
taken into account. if they understood these probabilities -- we think the report is also -- it should conform policymakers that we should also be informative to the market. and the main part of the whole effort is to say, we really need to understand, this is not some theoretical exercise. right now this world does not exist. one of the hardest things to do is to imagine a world that cdoes not exist. but you need to understand the strategic argument we have hashed out -- others have hashed it out, there are other elements, economic is one. we want people to think this through and say, you really need -- we need to ratchet up pressure to prevent a nuclear
iran because the costs are significant i think. >> to do an analysis like this, you have to simplify the world. to be able to run the numbers. when the simplifications in this report, the world in which iran does not have nuclear weapons and the world in which they do. i do think that is an oversimplification. and the real world, there's and in between where iran has advanced so far in that direction of having nuclear weapons and capabilities to produce not just one but perhaps many nuclear weapons on extremely short notice, gets us to the point that they have nuclear weapons. and the international community, their neighbors would have to treat them as if they had nuclear weapons even if they had not done with other countries have done when they want to announce the have a nuclear weapon, to test one. i think arguably, we are coming to that point now. the time line for them to make a
mad dash to create materials. there's a report of yesterday that they are two to three months away to producing the material for a weapon if that is what they want to do. may be being able to do that for one weapon is not -- virtually the same as producing a nuclear weapon, if the time when jordan further and they are able to produce multiple weapons and a short time -- if the time line at short and a further and they are able to produce multiple weapons in a short time -- short of them testing in nuclear weapon, the further they get in the direction of having capabilities. [inaudible]
>> you could maybe blame them now because they could price it in. thank you for the question, i want to get to a couple more. maybe you could both ask a question. >> i am just curious come in your analysis, how did you factor in the uncertainty about the effectiveness of a military strike? to a already indicated if there was a military strike, as i understand, having not read your report yet, that there would be a spike up in the short term of the price of oil. there seems to be almost an assumption that there would be closer to the issue of iranian military of nuclear capability when in fact there may not be closure. and i am just curious, was there a lot of analysis to that point about just this uncertainty about the effectiveness of any military strike? >> and we will take your
question now, to. >> i am mitsubishi energy systems. i wanted to ask, to get everyones opinion on how the topless changes if iran remains a latent nuclear threat but not actually construct a weapon. and my other question is related to united states economics, these united states. the ability to adapt to a more diversified fuel supply like natural gas or electric vehicles? >> thank you very much. >> i am going to say quickly, we did not get into the issue about what would be the cost of the strike so much. we had to use some numbers for calculating what the premium is. we assume that the premium -- the risk premium is in the market today. but we really kind of left those assessing the cost of a military strike to others. we try to avoid that.
we had to use numbers that we took based on merely what we read. [inaudible] >> you are raising a couple different issues. one of the issues you are raising, there's no military strike that is going to create an end to this issue. any military strike is going to set the iran's nuclear program back. and you ought to think about -- what are the implications of setting it back? what is the behavior of others in the area? how did they feel that. they see iran was set back, does that build our credibility with others to say, we are quite serious about what we mean? that is not an argument for using military force in terms of prevention. i think what michael is saying, that as an action, it may come to that if diplomacy fails.
i do not think it is too late to have a diplomacy succeed. i do think for it to succeed, the economic pressures which are clearly unmistakable, the iranians are clearly doing this in ways that have not been true before. their currency is being devalued on a very rapid basis. the level of inflation is very we are seeing demonstrations from place since we have not seen until recently. the impact of this sanction is being felt and has not expressed itself in terms of the iranians changing their behavior, but the potential is clearly more now than before. i also agree the you need that as well as their understanding that if diplomacy fails, they pay a bigger price. >> do you want to address these specific issues on prices? >> as i mentioned before, one of
the surprises in the report was how vulnerable the u.s. is still, despite the massive shale oil resolution -- revolution. this is not to say that the progress towards energy independence has not provided measurable gains in energy security and reducing volatility, but it is still there. even in a hypothetical world where the u.s. has not become completely self-sufficient in oil. oil markets are completely integrated and we will drive up prices everywhere, including the u.s.. so, while having diversified fuel diversifies away from oil
into natural gas and all of this stuff, we will definitely see benefits. it is not a silver bullet that will completely solve the problem. >> steve, i want to go back to you. they were making your point. >> it is about what to do in a situation with ambiguity. my personal opinion, that is the most likely scenario for the iranians. maybe not over the long term, but certainly over the near term. >> next 10 years, perhaps? >> there are historical precedents for that. south africa actually has six nuclear weapons. they never tested one. they achieved the benefits,
where the other similar analogy is north korea. north korea probably had a clear weapons. we did not know that for a fact until 2006. for years, u.s. intelligence was telling us that they probably had one. you had to assume that they probably had nuclear weapons and had to plan accordingly. for iran to achieve the same thing, it is that many of the benefits they're seeking to achieve with nuclear weapons without necessarily incurring what comes from clearly violating the >> there is a threshold issue here. if they get to the point where the saudis are under the conclusion that they are effectively it nuclear weapons
state, we have to have it as well. they're clearly not at that point yet. this is clearly one of the threshold issues we have been looking at. >> thank you very much. we appreciate the great questions. thank you very much. [applause] >> i also wanted to thank susan and her family. i wanted to thank you all for coming. we wanted to finish up a little bit early today. i know that there is it 1:07 playoff game. thank you for coming and we hope to see you here in the future. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012]
>> although the house and senate are adjourned until after the election, the senate oversight committee is meeting today to discuss the security situation in been gauzy. -- been gauzy -- benngahzi. the state department said that they pledged their cooperation and they made their first witness request. that hearing is coming up within
the hour, noon eastern. also today, general martin dempsey is at the national press club. you can watches remarks live on c-span to at 12:30 eastern. jimmy diamond is at the council of formant -- foreign relations, live on c-span 3 at 12:30. we are getting ready for the vice-presidential debate coming up tomorrow in danville, ky. we are getting set on the spin room.
>> again, the look around of the spin room area. our camera is getting set along with lots of others. coverage is being tomorrow night with our preview program, right here on c-span. just up on our facebook page a few minutes ago, matter-of-fact, facebook.com/c-span, we are asking the question -- how important are vice-presidential
debates? some saying a waste of time, others saying very important. tell us what you think. >> i watch c-span, the various congressional hearings and deliberations on policy, with the information put out by various think tanks in washington, d.c. i like to watch the 8:00 programmer he hosts different authors. with discussions about the books that have written. there is an easy way to get that information. >> c-span, created by american cable companies in 1979, brought to you as a public service by your television provider.
>> two counter-terrorism experts say that the obama administration's use of from strikes may be undermining their security objectives in places like yemen and pakistan as they move from targeted killings to so-called signature strikes. this is one hour. >> i am a senior -- >> on behalf of our chairman and president, i want to welcome you here and i want to welcome c- span for covering this event. it is entitled death from above, drones and targeted killing. they started after the bush administration but have been accelerated under the obama administration. it seems to me that the main weapon by the united states against al qaeda and its
affiliates. one can certainly argue that they have been effective, according to the data from the new american foundation. somewhere between 1597 have been killed since 2004. on the other hand, there has what has euphemistically been called collateral damage. the non militant death rate has fallen dramatically since 2004. it remains a highly sensitive issue. there are many controversies surrounding the drone campaign. the first is the morality of the strikes, especially concerning non-militant deaths. second, the question is raised,
is the united states making more enemies out of the civilian population than would otherwise be the case? third, the legality of the drug operations themselves. fourth, what about the sovereignty issue? they presumably have the acquiescence of the governments of the countries where the attacks take place, are they hurting national pride in these countries and are they being used as a political issue by political actors against the united states. we saw over the weekend that the four pakistani cricket stars were now an issue. they tried to organize a march to protest the drone attacks. will more pakistani citizens tried similar attacks? we are fortunate today to have a distinguished panel to
examine these questions and other types of questions concerning the drone attacks. i would like to introduce the person to my left, peter bergen, the current director of the national security studies program. he is also a fellow at the university center on national security. as many of you in the audience are aware, he is the leading national security analyst on cnn.
peter bergen has been covering al qaeda for many years since he was a journalist. he interviewed bin laden. this was the first interview bin laden gave. in addition, he has written many books on the subjects, including "man hunt." several of his books have become "the new york times" best sellers. we are pleased to have him here today. to my left is christopher swift. he is a fellow at the center for national security law at the university of virginia law school. he holds a bachelor's degree in government and history. a ph.d. in politics in international studies from cambridge university. he is the author of an upcoming book. most recently, he did field research in yemen, which he will be talking about today.
he has served in the u.s. treasury department. thank you very much. we are pleased to have you, as well. without further ado, let me turn to peter bergen for his comments and insights. >> thank you for the introduction. i wanted to talk about the american foundation in terms of drones. [sirens] can everybody hear me? 2004 was really the first drone strike in pakistan, authorized by george w. bush. not a single drone strike has occurred outside the areas. that is one of the reasons i think he used the acquiescence in the strikes. i think there is acquiescence by the pakistan government. it would very quickly change if the drone strikes changed and
other tribal regions. they are referred to as foreign area. constitutionally, the regions have never been part of pakistan proper. there would be huge push back if drone strikes started in -- pakistan has f-16s. there is some degree of acquiescence. the days of acquiescence in pakistan are fading, as you know. the united states has a 90% in april rating in pakistan. down about 20%. it was voted to essentially and the use of drones on the territory.
the united states government has ignored that. there was a drone strike about once every 40 days under george w. bush. under obama, there has been a drone strike about once every four days. how do we assemble our data about drone strikes? we rely on pakistan and news sources, cnn, and also pakistani newspapers. it is where many of the farm fighters are based themselves. it is the least well poised to do military operations. they have done serious operations. the fact is, there are relatively limited operations. over a third of these strikes have killed members of the taliban.
recently, a pakistan major- general acknowledged for the first time officially that the numbers of people is relatively low who are killed. just to get into that in a little bit more detail, under president obama, this seems to be a shift away from al qaeda. about 25% of the targets were al qaeda, 40% were taliban. that was under torture of the
bush. under obama, just over 50% for taliban targets. the number of military leaders who have been killed has been declining overall. it has only been 2%. 49 militant leaders have been killed. this initially seem to be designed to kill military leaders. we calculated somewhere between 1300 of roughly 2300 militants have been killed. we calculate the civilian
casualty rate, 33% under president bush, dropped to close to 2% under president obama. this is a controversial point. some people have criticized us for our claim or our finding case on reliable medium reported. 2% are called on known. no one is criticizing us except the defenders of the drone program. 3% under president bush. some of these drone attacks, it seems to get lost in the coverage, are very much in pakistan's in trust. the pakistani taliban has killed something like 30 people in the last several years.
the state department one to some degree. they are saying we overuse the tactic. will there were other factors that cause this decline. there has been increased congressional oversight. it was said the committee has 28 oversight meetings to examine this in detail. another detail here is the declining number of targets in the tribal areas. you would have to be pretty stupid if you were staying, or desperate, if you were a member of al qaeda or other groups at this point. just to wrap this up, and maybe
zoom out further, the united states on 9/11 had about 50 drones. now they have 7500, roughly speaking. they do not have armed drones on 9/11. it was only able to arm its first drone in the post-9/11 era. there was a debate about who would pay for the armed drones. the first victim of the armed drone program was the military commander of al qaeda, killed in november of 2001. the point of the anecdote is that the united states will not have a monopoly on drones. it already does not. israel has sold technology to companies like siberia. china, 2010, demonstrated it had 25 different types of
drones, some of which could potentially be armed. the monopoly will disappear very quickly. it already has. the question is the president of the united states is creating with the use of drones. you can imagine chinese using drones. basically deciding what the united states is doing with president. a public discussion of drones, as we are having here. it is a good thing. it is the future of warfare. >> thank you. >> thank you to the center of national policy for putting together this form and creating the type of forum where we can have a reasonable, rational
debate. i would also like to thank peter and commending him and the new america foundation for the research they are doing. there are a lot of pundits in washington d.c. to have very strong opinions about the program, whether for or against drones, but very few people have actually gone out on the field and crunched the data. peter's team has done that. they should be commended. i will take a slightly different approach. i am a lawyer and a political scientist. i basically have three things i would like to do. i would like to discuss some of my observations from my field work in yemen this past summer. i would like to talk about how some of those observations resonate with some of the core principles that define the law of war. i would like to go from specific to general. i would like to talk about the debate in this world,
technology, and policy. on to yemen. i have been researching a book. the object of the book is to unravel and untangle the webs in networks we have seen develop since 9/11. a very important case study in that research is yemen. it is a place where al qaeda has shifted to following afghanistan and pakistan. also iraq. as a result of that shift, and a generational shift after the death of bin laden, we are seeing new strategies. they are operating prominently
in arab culture. yemen is crucial to how al qaeda is evolving and the way it is using local insurgencies. before i went to yemen, some colleagues encouraged me to look at the drone issue, as well. not just a question of how al qaeda interfaces with indigenous tribes. there were two arguments. the human rights committee was making the arguments that drone strikes are the approximate cost of al qaeda's effort in yemen. there are numbers to back that. the operational capacity since 2009. on the national security side, i had colleges said, let's figure out if our drone strikes are helping us to deal with a terrorist challenge.
when i got to yemen, i interviewed for the tribal and religious leaders. i found both of these narratives we had in washington, that the drone strikes helping us set up in yemen and they are causing the growth of al qaeda in yemen had no relation to what is happening on the ground. what i did find is that al qaeda's recruiting is not driven by a u.s. drone strikes. not ideology or religion. it is driven by desperation. yemen's live in $60 economies. in a region that is cut off from the rest of the world, where people are living on less than 800 calories a day, that makes a difference. it is a real concern about government corruption that is pulling people into the insurgency in yemen. not drone strikes, not jihad,
not ideology. all of those things are used. the second thing i found in yemen, they resent the drone strikes. they have the image of the drones and the u.s. government is standing up a government that is not accountable to them. we hear this over and over. in the south and in the north. this notion that the u.s. is propping up a government that is not responsive to the population. it is fundamentally undermining our political objectives, even while securing our security objectives. neither one of them bears any resemblance to the facts on the
ground. they are distorting our ability to understand the relationship between the instruments of policy and the actual substance of our objectives. our security terms and our long-term political objectives. let me summarize some of the things tribal and religious leaders told me. they are willing to accommodate them if the united states can meet three conditions. no civilian casualties. not using any more force than is necessary to take care of the problem. they see it as a dispute between the united states and al qaeda. it is very individualized and particularized. the third thing is basically when you target al qaeda, make sure you target the leaders. they want to pull people away from the organization. they do not support al qaeda. they do not want those kids to become a target for the u.s. drones.
they want to get rid of al qaeda but also have a functioning government, provide security for their people, and make sure their people do not get caught in the crossfire. when we look at the general principles of national law and a lot of war, there are three normative constructs that we use to define what is and what is use only as much force as you need do to remove the threat. and the third is restraint. know who you are targeting and target only those that pose a threat. those three values we have international law resonate closely with what religious and tribal leaders told me about the situation on the ground. when we think of international war, we think of how it relates to the drone warfare question,
we have to think not about a fundamental set of rules that can never be broken and we cannot think of it as a set of ridiculous regulations that interfere with our ability to secure ourselves. we have to look at it as a series of lessons that have been collected by previous generations will have learned hard lessons as a result of wars who have given those court to future generations. those lessons are to avoid civilian casualties, because it helps to radicalize the indigenous population. use restraint. use only the force you need. to achieve your need the third is restraint. know who your adversary is and what objectives you want to a stephen don't go beyond that. today we have an increase in the intensity of u.s. drone operations in yemen. there's a shift from targeted strikes based on a positive identification of a particular
individual to signature strikes based on generalized patterns of what we believe carmela and characteristics and militant behavior. that may have worked pretty well in pakistan. that is because they stuck out. but in a place like yemen where ethnic arabs are reintegrated into their own tribal structures and even their own family structures, a signature strike becomes more problematic. it underscores something we need to consider more broadly, drones are a tool. they are in instrument and they allow us to extend our reach and reduce the cost of intervening in various military operations. but they don't change the need for having very clear intelligence. they don't change the need to understand the local social, political, and economic dynamics on the ground. they don't change the human
dimension of war, the relationship between the population that's fighting or living the midst of war and the people coming from the outside to intervene. these are the questions being lost in the drone debate. we are focusing on the platform and the technology and the proliferation and very hard notions of right and wrong, war and peace, liberty versus security. the fundamental issues are those that reached all the way back to the peloponnesus and more. how we fight and when and how we know it's ok to fight and what tools are ok to use given the context. all those are policy decisions. we need to be very careful that we think of technology as tainting -- as changing this fundamentally human endeavor. the fault is in ourselves. if we want to have effective policies in yemen and somalia and pakistan, if we have to have written understanding of what's happening on the ground and an
appreciation of the diversity of the views and consequences of this kind of intervention going forward. thank you. >> thank you. if i could just add a follow-up to this. you talked about the 1718 predicts 7418-year-old yemen recruits and it's primarily for money. -- 17-year-olds or 18-year-old s. is there any meeting of the mines? >> was driving recruiting in yemen is an economic and social environment that is breaking down. you have the breakdown of traditional tribal and religious institutions. you have massive instability of the a government. you have an ecological crisis. a majority of yemenis are living on less than $60 a month. if you are 30 years old with a
wife and three children and maybe our living on $60 a day and someone comes to your community that's cut off from the rest of the world and says if i can pay you $400 but you have to believe in jihad and carry this rifle, that's pra pretty good deal. whether those people get targeted as a result, that is an unfortunate reality. the trip is right now in yemen we don't have a good granular view of what groups, where tribal structures, what regions of the places where al qaeda has a lot of reach and influence. we have a general view from 12,000 feet above. you cannot fight this kind of war by remote control. you have to have the on the ground you. that does not mean we should send lots of troops or have the kind of interventions we have had in afghanistan. that type of operation would not make sense.
we have to have a much clearer picture of who our adversary is and how he relates to the local population and the points of pressure. right now we don't have that because we are trying to fight this from promote control. >> when were you doing your research? second, what is your assessment of al qaeda in yemen right now? they seem to have suffered some pretty major military reverses from the drawn program and the yemen government. what did you make of that their president's comments at the un general assembly in defense of drones? as far as my understanding, has obama had no one-on-one meetings except with the president of yemen? >> i don't know about the last part. i was there shortly after the bombing in the capital of yemen that killed 100 young yemeni officers.
i interviewed some of the officers who were the distance between you and me in late may. and i was there in early june just before the yemeni army sources -- armed forces went in. it was a very rich time as far as the data available. my general assessment of al qaeda you can find in an article i wrote for west point, the ctc sentineled journal, in july. the current situation in yemen, al qaeda got extended beyond their capacity. they tried to consolidate territory, set up a system of government in abyan province. they were burning a lot of money and using a lot of manpower and there were not quite ready to do it. the army pushed the comebac --
the army pushed them back. i think what we have seen in yemen is not a yemeni army out of al qaeda but rather an al qaeda strategic retreat t back to areas where it has better sustainability. the comments that the yemeni president made _ the difference between the yemeni leadership and their concerns about al qaeda and instability in their country and what ordinaire yemenis are thinking in the streets especially in a big city. the yemeni leadership is very concerned about the security threat. people in yemen are very concerned about some other country coming in and meddling with their affairs. there's a disconnect. the disconnect is growing and growing. i think there president gave you
an assembly and in washington at the woodrow wilson center a very clear if factual assessment of what drones can do and how they are helping his government take care of some of the security problems. one of the things i don't think he has acknowledged is the degree to which that kind of intervention and the way that intervention is seen in any society generally is undermining the legitimacy of this transitional government with ordinary people on the street. >> it sounds like quite difficult research. multiple wars going on in yemen right now. how did you deal with your personal security? >> i relied on locals to provide my security. when i was in the north i had a very good interpreter who had an extended network of people able to provide some security. when he and i went down to the south, we moved from tribal shake to tribal shakeik. i was riding in a bunch of pickup trucks with tribal
fighters in the back with kalashnikov missiles. the simple reality is, if you take the time to do your homework and go and build a local relationship, you can get much richer data and a much broader perspective than you can from just relying on third-party reports or here say discussions or other types of data. in manila, maintaining a low profile, move around very smoothly. in the south, moving from the protection of one tribal leader into the protection of another tribal leader. -- in the north, maintaining a low profile, i move around very smoothly. >> we are very happy you came back safe and sound from this
ordeal. you provided us with a lot of rich research, so thank you very much. now it's time for q&a. please identify yourselves before asking a question. yes, sir? >> [inaudible] for an adult or a teenager american being deployed from the u.s. military, part art at the rules changing? and it is there anything to be concerned about for them, especially? >> so how are drones change in the life of ordinary soldier? >> as far as american military. >> when we talk about drones, the use in ordinary warfare in afghanistan and iraq is not controversial.
in iraq you are talking about hundreds of thousands of flying hours during the war in any given year using drones. i just bought one on amazon for $250. the ordinary soldier is going to have almost their own drone readily soon. it's already here, the technology. so it's changing the nature of warfare. i will give you another example. the libyan opposition to gaddafi on the internet what their own surveillance drones for poor hundred thousand dollars. for $200,000.-- >> yes, sir? >> i was the director of
innovations and the office of naval research. i told the admiral we ought to go to toys"r"us and buy these, because that was the evolution of the technology. they gave me a bunch of ex navy captains, i used to say don't tell me your problems, tell me the solutions. you articulate the problems extraordinarily well. what would you do if you were in charge? that is the crux of where we go. because we cannot stop technology and. war is war. i will not even begin to tell the difference from 11 years ago to today. >> 3 solutions and one of the practical and other security and other legal. the practical solution, in terms
of u.s. operations in the places we are doing drones, have to have visibility on the ground. we have to know our local partners are and they have to know the and we have to know who are local adversaries are and have the tools to distinguish them from one another. not every person with a flashy car and a turban is al qaeda. you cannot fight a war by remote control. so that's a practical solution. from a legal standpoint, if we are or about proliferation of the technology, we have a number of tools that we used to prevent the proliferation of all kinds of dangerous technology with an agreement or nuclear materials with the nonproliferation treaty. with drones we have a legal regime called the missile technology control regime that says if you have a rocket system or a missile or drawn system with a range of more than 300 kilometers, the technology and on that is controlled. there are certain companies --
countries you cannot export that technology to. the missile technology control regime is a voluntary regime. if you can move that from voluntary, international law has answers to deal with some of these problems. and then the strategy question, what do we do in theater? i had a profound concerns about the signature strikes. in the near term, i will dial back the signature strikes until we have better intelligence on the ground. the thing that makes drones a better option from a legal standpoint, from a strategic standpoint, from a tactical standpoint is the fact you can put firepower directly on the target, directly on the source of the threat. that degree of discrimination is extremely useful from a legal and political and strategic standpoint. if you suddenly decide we are not going to worry about the
nature of the target, that we will work on a profile basis, then you start to undermine the legal legitimacy of your actions, you start to undermine the degree of restraint and you have that you are exercising strategically, and you encourage misalignment between the short- y issues we are trying to deal with and long term political objectives we are trying to achieve in places like yemen, somalia, pakistan, and in syria. >> i completely agree with christopher about the signature strikes. this is the world's worst kept secrets. we're having a public meeting about this issue. drone strikes are public events by their nature. it's one of the reasons america tracked the study, because these are not things you can hide. i think it's good that the obama administration is beginning to talk about this in a more open manner.
president obama did an interview with cnn where he made some of his most on the record statements about the drone program and there should be more public discussion about it. there should be more public discussion on the international level to talk about the kind of regime christopher indicated potentially having a binding international agreement on this issue. one other thing i would add, the secrecy surrounding the this is not necessary. and it's counterproductive. why doesn't even exist? in the case of pakistan, it was to give practice tunney's plausible deniability because they had signed up for this -- pakistani's packers da plausible deniability.
the yemeni government was joking about how they were going to lie about it to their own population. so the secret is out. plausible deniability does not exist and now we have the yemeni president making a speech about it at the un general assembly. some might feel it is a great disinfectant and others might feel -- the back. can you please speak up? >> [inaudible] >> i'm not familiar with that event. i know the united states turned down a request from turkey for
armed drones and the turks turned around and said we will are our own drones. -- arm our own drones. it's not that complicated, the technology. >> i also am not personally familiar with the situation, but the one point i would add to that is drones generally reduce the cost of military intervention, because it is easier -- does like an iphone makes it easier for you to communicate. drones extend your reach and reduce the cost of getting involved. to the extent we have for proliferation of drones and the the extent to which different countries are using instruments to pursue their policies, we are likely to see greater expense of the and intensive in terms of the frequency of these operations.
-- > extensity. it does not matter whether it is the concern about the high the jihadist groups operating in the sinai. we need to have a much clearer sense of who we are targeting and what the costs of taking the wrong action are, and we have to have a clear public discussion about when it is appropriate to use this force and the kind of targets a program to target, and whether or not is now the time to use force. these are not questions about drones. these questions reach all the way back to thucydides. these are all questions. we need to focus on those questions and not on the platform. >> if there are drones that would go to egypt and the
egyptian government uses them near the border of the sinai next to gaza or israel proper, that would have to be at some point coordinated with the israelis because of the sensitivity of battle border region. so that has to be worked out. yes, sir? >> the issue of the signature strikes. i'm curious how much we know about the decision making behind these. and if we have any from data on whether they are actually less discriminate in terms of civilian casualties. it's obvious that signature strikes can be pretty awful. something that strikes me as analogous in a domestic criminal context, and we routinely use that same sort of thing to send people to jail for very long
times and sometimes death row. i'm curious what we actually know in terms of how the signature strikes work and what the real differences are between them and the non-citrus strikes. >> i think what we know is not a great deal. i think we can make certain assumptions. my impression is the number of signatures strikes has gone down in pakistan. there was a particularly egregious case in march of 2011, the day after raymond davis was released. it killed quite a number of tribal leaders and seemed to be a is signature stripe. the u.s. ambassador to pakistan tried to prevent a strike or complained about it specifically afterwards. a signature strike is more likely to kill people who may not be -- it's not killing
militant leaders. my impression is they have declined in pakistan. i cannot tell you they have stopped. the u.s. government really does not say much about it. the best reporting on this has been done by a newsweek journalist and joe bicker and scott shane bauer of the new york times. when it comes to individual strikes, whether signature or not, you can only infer it by the number of casualties. signature strikes tend to kill more people, i think. >> it's an assumption? >> it is an assumption. strike refers to a a group of people doing certain things and not to one person. the administration has, with an
im -- a euphemism -- tads, something to do with terrorism. because signature strike does not sound good. so i cannot say more, because i don't know. >> i don't have an inside view of the criteria they are using to operate signature strikes, nor do i have the data. that's one area where greater transparency would be in favor of greater legitimacy. when i can talk to you about is the analogy of drones -- signature strikes on one hand and circumstantial evidence on the other. if i am a prosecutor and i have a murder, i want to prove that murder with eye witness testimony. i want to approve it with dna. i don't want to prove it with circumstantial evidence, because even if i get the conviction,
it's going to -- it's not going to resonate to the same way. it will not be seen as legitimate and will continue to be challenged five years, 20 years down the road. i want to clear conviction based on facts i can verify, not based on hearsay or conjecture, or circumstance. that's assuming we are operating in the legal name. in little oak lane, that involves things like due process of law, for amendment taking, that the u.s. domestic criminal law analogy of drones. we're not operating in the realm of u.s. domestic criminal law. you're operating in the realm of war and peace in a foreign conflict zone. the stakes are arguably even higher in terms of a political standpoint, because there's no trial. the target, who may or may not be a militant, does not have a chance to say, wait, i'm not who you think.
the cost of getting the decision on undermines our policy, undermined our ability to build the relationships we need and to achieve the kind of objectives we have to, which involves security and prosperity in the middle east. that's what we are aiming for. if you do it on the basis of circumstantial evidence, it's going to be really hard to do that. and it will be really hard to go to the tribal leader in that region and explain that we did it on the basis of circumstantial evidence. when i was in yemen, one man i interviewed was a tribal leader from a district inh the southdistricte had put together a local militia that was literally fighting al qaeda house-to-house in their own villages. not because the government asked them to stand up but because al qaeda had offended them and all keitel was a threat to them and
they took responsibility for providing security in their own area. we accidentally droned some civilians in that district. now we cannot go to its population and say we need to accommodate the drones. he's not in that position anymore. the reason is we were using signature strikes rather than making a positive identification of who the adversary was and then taking them out of circulation. the international laws are not there to restrain us or to add bureaucracy. these are lessons that have been given to us by our grandparents and their grandparents about the mistakes you can make it more and the kind of precautions you should take to avoid those mistakes so that war serves a clear policy, clear set of objectives rather than war serving itself and spinning out
of control. >> yes, sir? >> from "the huffington post. there is an academic report released two weeks ago from nyu about how the pakistani population is in some of the areas where the drama attacks are. it is not good to live there because the drones are operating constantly over their heads. has there been any research done? you know whether there is more radicalization in places like north waziristan or if the population of that area could take up arms against al qaeda? >> the new america foundation did an independent poll on sensitive political issues in the tribal areas about two years ago. there wapublic polling is
difficult in tribal areas. we used in local ngo that does pulling in that region. the results were pretty interesting. of course there was a great deal of hostility to president obama, i think because of the drones. there was a great deal of hostility to u.s. military activity in the region. there was also, very little support for al qaeda. and not much support for the taliban. one of the questions we asked was, if the taliban or al qaeda, or on the polls in an election in your area, would you vote for them? the answer was less than 1% in both cases. so the picture that emerges is a lot of hostility toward al qaeda and toward the taliban.
and a real dislike of u.s. military activity in the region. as i have been thinking about the drug program, christopher mentioned the issue of national sovereignty, at the end of the day that is really the issue that makes people oppose this. the perception of civilian casualties or the actuality, that's real. there was some drone program where they were taking out members of the mafia in buffalo, new york, with a high degree of success, but a small number of buffalo residents are also being killed in the process, we would be of enormous -- we would be up in arms against canada. so people are objecting to infringement of their national sovereignty. raymond davis, cia. and the osama bin laden raid
that pakistan did not get a heads-up on. these things and more account for the 9% favorability rating that we have in pakistan in general. i don't think it's particularly surprising. >> all this event is available in our video library at c- span.org. we will take you live to capitol hill for today's hearing looking at diplomatic security issues in libya. ahead of the attack on the u.s. consulate in benghazi, officials who were in charge of diplomatic security will testify about their efforts to approve security before the september 11 attacks. this is the house oversight committee chaired by darrell issa. the committee will hear from state and private officials. there's elijah cummings, the ranking democrat on the committee. he is talking with representative dennis kucinich. the hearing expected to go 2.5
hours. a for your witnesses have been called. secretary of state clinton has not been called to testify before the committee. while darrell issa has not directly criticize secretary clinton, one of his lieutenants , a ut representative, did on tuesday, arguing the white house and clinton had been more concerned with normalizing relations with libya posing new government and with security. the hearing should get under way shortly. h[captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012]
>> the committee will come to order. would you please take your seats? perhaps most appropriately today and the oversight committee mission statement reads "we exist to secure two fundamental principles. first, that americans have a right to know that the money washington takes from them is well spent. second, americans deserve an efficient, effective government
that works for them. our duty on the oversight and government reform committee is to protect these rights. solemn responsibility is to hold government accountable to taxpayers, because taxpayers have a right to know what they get from their government. so it's our job to work tirelessly in partnership with citizen watchdogs, delivered the facts to the american people, and bring genuine reform to the federal bureaucracy." this is the mission of the government oversight and reform committee. on september 11, 2012, careful you are brave americans serving their country were murdered by terrorists in benghazi, libya. tyrone would spent two decades as a navy seal, serving multiple sources in iraq, afghanistan, since 2010 he protected the american diplomatic personnel. tyrone woods leaves behind a widow and three children. glen doherty, also a former navy
seal and an experienced paramedic had served his country in iraq and afghanistan. his family and colleagues are grieving today for his death. sean smith, a communications specialist joined the state department after six years in the u.s. air force. he leaves behind a widow and two young children. ambassador chris stevens, a man i had known personally during his tours, u.s. ambassador to libya, ventured into a volatile and dangerous situation as libyans revolted against the longtime khaddafi regime. he did so because he believed the people of libya wanted and deserved the same things we have, freedom from tyranny. we join here today expressing from this side of the desk our deepest sympathy for the loss of
life of the families in libya. additionally, other americans were injured in this terrorist attack. some suffering very serious injuries. i spoke to the father of one american who is recovering in the united states military hospital. he hopefully will have a full recovery, but he has gone through supplemental surgeries that will require a long recuperation and long reconstruction. mr. davis state department began a process of coming clean about what occurred in benghazi -- yesterday the state department began the process. they issued a broad and definitive statement, headed by ambassador kennedy, and they made witnesses available and interviews. they made every effort from what we can tell to ensure that the people we wanted to talk to were available to us. more importantly, yesterday they
held a broad news conference over the phone in which they made it very clear that it had never been the state department's position that this assault was part of the reaction to a video. this is corroborated by numerous witnesses and whistleblowers at. contrary to earlier assertions by the administration, there was no protest. cameras reveal that from the state -- and the state department and fbi and others have that video. the video in california made by individual out there for a period of time also clearly had no direct effect on this attack. it was september 11, the 11th anniversary of the greatest terrorist attack in u.s.
history in new york, pennsylvania, and at the pentagon. it was that anniversary that caused an organization aligned with al qaeda to attack and kill our personnel. i deeply appreciate secretary clinton's efforts to cooperate with this investigation. she stepped in and instructed her people to cooperate and they have. additionally, if i have had conversations directly with the secretary and i believe our service together since 2001 in the u.s. congress plays no small part in her recognition of the role we serve on both sides of the dome. today, however, this hearing has been called for the express purpose of examining security failures that led to the benghazi tragedy. safe-haven within the compound, which some state department officials seemed to think could protect the benghazi compound inhabitants, did not work.
in retrospect, it cannot be expected to work. the overall level of security at the compound did not meet the threat or standards under any reasonable assessment for a facility of this kind. today's hearing is the result of concerned citizens with direct knowledge of the events in libya a ultimately reaching this committee. as we look back on what occurred, our challenge is to identify things that clearly went wrong and what the benefit of hindsight will be for the men and women serving at dangerous locations around the world. accounts from security officials who were on the ground and documents indicate that they repeatedly warned washington officials about dangerous situations in libya. instead, moving swiftly it -- instead of moving swiftly to respond to these concerns, washington seemed to go with the
concept of normalization. it accounts we have heard it, it included artificial time lines for removing the american security personnel, replacing them with local indians. removing american security personnel and replacing them with local libyans. requests for extensions of more security by the mission in libya appeared to have often been rejected or even officials in washington told diplomats in libya cannot even to make them. or if you make them they will not be supported.
we know the tragedy in benghazi ended as it did. t was causedthat i by a terrorist attack that was reasonably predictable to eventually happen somewhere in the world, and especially on september 11. in closing, as secretary clinton has impanel a blue- ribbon board to fully investigate what occurred, it is much broader for us and for that panel to take up an additional challenge. there are hundreds and hundreds of facilities similar to this around the world. there are thousands of personnel serving this country who at any time in any country could be a target. some of those are high risk and obvious like libya. others may be lower risk. this committee is dedicated to
ensure that security is taken differently than it was leading up to the events here. we owe it to our federal employees who put themselves and their families in harm's way around the world. the history of these panels is that they deliver full and complete results and pull no punches. admiral mullen is no stranger to controversy and getting to the bottom of it. so i do encourage all to look at the final results of the blue- ribbon panel. but today it is 30 days since the september 11 attack, more or less. it is a long time to wait if you are sitting in cairo, in algeria, in beirut, in damascus, and you don't trust that the security measures you need have occurred. today we begin the process of saying they must be able to
trust, because you must be able to assure them that you are doing your work differently than just a short time ago. >> today we expect full cooperation from our panel and we expect to get to the truth. but it will be a much longer time before all the facts are known. we do not intend to flesh out all the facts. we intend today on a bipartisan basis to ensure that we begin the confidence building for our men and women serving this country around the world, that we will insure that they be protected and, if anything, protected more than the perceived threats, and never less. with that i recognize the ranking member for his opening comments. and then by unanimous consent, the chairman of the subcommittee on national security and his counterpart will be recognized for opening statements.
all other members will have seven days in order to put their opening statements in the record. i recognize mr. cummings. >> thank you, mr. chairman. let me be clear. we do grieve the loss of our fellow countrymen. it's not just your side of the aisle, mr. chairman. is this side of the aisle and our entire country. we grieve the loss of ambassador christopher smith, sean smith, glen doherty, and tyrone woods. i believe we should conduct a thorough and responsible investigation into the attack on the u.s. mission in benghazi. we need to carefully, very carefully, investigate allegations that have been made over the past week. and we need to run them to the
ground before we jump to conclusions. we should not be about the business of drawing conclusions and then looking for the facts. let me start by thanking secretary clinton and the state department for cooperating fully with this committee. they agreed to all of our witness requests. they offered additional witnesses beyond those requested. they promptly organized interviews with the department officials. they have been collecting documents saw by the committee. today there are several specific allegations i would like to ask the witness is about. mr. nordstrom, former regional secretary officer in tripoli, he told a committee there should have been five diplomatic security agents in benghazi. in other interviews we conducted yesterday, we learned that there
were five agents in benghazi on the day of the attacked. should there have been even more? we will ask him about this and i hope he will be prepared to answer this, since there have been selling allegations in the press saying that there were not. and we will ask the state department for its views as well. another witness, colonel andrew wood said he believes the military stationed in tripoli should have had term extended because of security concerns in libya. just yesterday we learned that this was extended not once but twice. should it have been extended the third time? we need to ask where else was it needed and at were its functions being fully served by others on the ground by the time it left the country? we should listen carefully to these and other allegations.
we should listen just as carefully to the responses. i am disappointed to say that although the chairman claims we are pursuing this investigation on a bipartisan basis, that has not been the case. for example, the chairman concealed his interactions with the colonel until friday night when he appeared on national television and then refused a request to mcconnell available so we could speak with him to ask him basic questions and prepare for hearings. we cannot even get a phone number. the chairman has withheld documents that were provided to the committee, which is in violation of the house rules. he effectively excluded democrats from a congressional delegation to libya this past weekend and we were told about the trip less than 24 hours before it was to take place. resortingme they are to such petty abuses in what should be a serious and
responsible investigation of this fatal attack. the problem is that these acts have denied members of this committee the ability to effectively and efficiently investigate this incident. the members on this side of the aisle are just as concerned as the members on the other side of the aisle. we need to represent 700,000 of these people too. we want to make sure that all the questions are answered. in contrast, on the senate side, every member of the foreign relations committee, democrats and republicans alike, joined in a bipartisan letter to the state department requesting information on the attack. so, what do we do today? what do we do today? my goal is to try in some way to put this at partisanship behind us and focus on the security of
our personnel at. every two years we put our hands up and swear to protect the people of the united states of america, as members of congress. all of us do that, not just republicans or democrats, but all of us. those people that we promised to protect are not limited to just the folks within our shores and our boundaries of this nation but those people who go out and put their lives on the line every day for us in foreign lands. the chairman has said our committee will examine not only the libya attack but security at outposts across the middle east. mr. chairman, i fully support this effort. if that is our goal, we have to examine the funding. the fact is that since 2011 the house has cuts embassy security by hundreds of millions of dollars below the amounts
requested by the president. the house has done that. the senate restored some of these funds, but the final amounts were still far below the administration requests. there were far below the levels that we enacted in 2010. mr. chairman, i just heard what you said about making sure that we do everything in our power to make sure this never happens again. i join you in that statement. we can do better. i would like to ask the chairman to join me in doing so. mr. chairman, i ask you to join me in calling on our leaders in the house to immediately consider supplemental funding bill to restore funding for embassy security that was cut by the house over the past few years. according to the joint committee on taxation, we could save $2.5 billion per year just by eliminating the tax breaks for oil companies. even republicans now agree we should do this, including governor romney.
we could fully replenished these embassy security accounts with just a fraction of that amount. restoring our commitment to embassy security could make a real difference to thousands of americans who serve our country overseas, often in extremely dangerous circumstances, as you just stated. i do agree with you that we should act with the utmost urgency. every single moment count. from this day forward, it's my hope that our committee will pearly investigate this matter in a truly bipartisan manner. because our dedicated foreign service personnel and our nation deserve nothing less. with that i yield. >> i thank the gentleman. i might note for the record that i said this side of the desk relative to all of those in the audience. >> mr. chairman, thank you very much. >> although you did not name a
particular rule you say i violated -- >> we will provide you with that, but we want to get on with the hearing. i promise i will provide that to you. >> with that i would ask unanimous consent that our colleagues, mr. gore backer, and ms. adams be allowed to persist updparticipate. -- mr. rohrbacher. and now, mr. chafits. >> i believe we have a moral imperative to pursue this. we have four dead americans. we have others that are critically injured. our thoughts and prayers are with those people and their families. we cannot thank them enough for their service and dedication to our nation. and thank you to the people on
this panel for participating, because i know you care about people in this country. it's a very serious situation. we have to understand how we got here. before 9/11/2012 and after the revolution in libya, there was a tumultuous and difficult situation. i like to enter into the record a document provided to us by mr. eric nordstrom, dated october 1. >> without objection, , so ordered. >> i would like to read the last paragraph of that statement. incidents paint a clear picture that the environment in libya was fragile at best and could degrade quickly. certainly not an environment where posts should be directed to normalize operations and reduce security resources in accordance with an artificial timetable."
of all the things i have seen and read, that is one of the most disturbing. i appreciate the guts of those that stood up and will provide us with information. because it does take guts to do it. i will ask that we have some photographs. broad daylight, june of 2012, a two-car convoy carrying the british ambassador was ambushed military-style with rocket- propelled grenades in benghazi. these pictures seem to be out of order. i'm sorry. there we go. this was an attack literally weeks before when happened in benghazi. next slide. and the next. and the next. and the next. these pictures are of an attack that happened in benghazi. the first was the fish bomb. this was the compound in benghazi before the attack.
go to the next slide. the second bombing was an improvised explosive device placed on the north gate, a regional mall -- breeching the wall. it was a test and we did not acknowledge it. we pretended it did not happen. it was a terrorist attack on the u.s. assets in libya and it was never exposed. we pretended it did not happen. the third time the terrorists came to attack us, they were even more successful, killing four americans. i personally believe, with more asset, more resources, we could have saved the life of ambassador steven zinda and the other people. -- ambassador stevens. the reason we have those details is mysterious.
news outlets were not invited. any reasonable person looking at the security situation in libya had to come to the conclusion that it was a tumultuous, at best. i wish i could tell you everything i have learned. i did go to libya. i did drop everything. i had the same type of notice that was given to the democrats. the state department sent an attorney to follow me with every footstep. to suggest you did not have an opportunity to go was absolutely wrong. i wish i could share everything i learned there, but we have to be careful about the sensitive information and sources in a classified setting. i think some of the information the state department has shared has overstepped some of those bounds. let us be careful today to not reveal some of that classified information. it has been too difficult to get basic information. i will tell you that when i was in libya, a good part of the
day, never once did a person ever mentioned a video. never. i am fascinated to know -- from the president of the u.s. and the secretary of state and the ambassador to the united nations, how they could justify that this video? cost of the video it was a terrorist attack. let's be honest. i look forward to the hearing. and god bless the men and women who serve us. i thank you for being here. and let's always remember those who serve this nation. i yield. >> i thank the gentleman. the gentleman is correct. both sides were informed once we had gotten clearance for libya. with that we recognized the gentlelady from the district of columbia for response. >> the tragic events in
benghazi point out the hazards of serving our country go far beyond the military. i agree with mr chaffetz that perhaps had there been more resources we might have had a different result. but i must note the republican budget increases the budget of the defense department, it slashes the budget that would have protected these diplomats. the ambassador chris stevens and three others who died were man of unusual courage and died heroically protecting their mission.
the best tribute to the ambassador comes from the mourning in the streets we saw from the citizens of benghazi and libya. it must be said that ambassador stevens did something that you rarely see in diplomatic work across the world. a little more than a few months after the arab spring, he had already established an entirely new and promising relationship between the united states of america and libya. what an extraordinary man he must have been. i. thank you, mr. chairman, for holding this hearing this afternoon, even in the midst of a campaign.
it was and is important to hold a hearing now when memories are fresh. i certainly want to go on record for thinking the state department, especially ambassador clinton, for what the chairman says has been a very open cooperation of the department with this hearing. i want to suggest that when there has been loss of life of this kind in service to the united states, there can be no difference between democrats and republicans in designing a hearing to discover exactly what transpired. that is why i regret that the spirit of bipartisanship and openness that came from the state department's has not
occurred here in this committee, that there has not been the sharing of information and witnesses so that both sides could be prepared to question witnesses and find out exactly what has happened. i yield the remainder of my time. >> i think my colleague and welcome the witnesses here today. i join my colleagues in expressing the desire for a bipartisan inquiry and i certainly hope the committee will endeavor to make the generally bipartisan. i regret the fact the trip to libya occurred with no members of this side of the aisle in attendance. i had the privilege of going with the republican chairman of the rules committee to libya in may. it is an unstable situation. it was then, it is now. it is one we americans hope will
stabilize over time. i certainly hope today's hearing is not going to be perceived as an effort to exploit the tragedy for political purposes 27 days out from an election. i hope it is the down payment of a serious inquiry into how can we make this kind of thing not recur. how come redouble our efforts to provide security to the brave men and women who served in the foreign service. how can we make sure we take a fresh look at the resources and make sure we're providing them on a bipartisan basis. no good is done to the security of the united states to politicize this tragedy. i cannot imagine that the late ambassador chris stevens would want us to do that. i hope we will proceed in a bipartisan way and get to the bottom of not only what happened, but what are the forces at work that led to that
far beyond just the issue of what we were, but what was the nature and we based in countries like libya post-arab spring. thank you. >> thank you. i might note the funding that is currently enjoyed by the state department was voted bipartisan, one more democrat voting for the appropriations than republicans. so, hopefully, we can understand how bipartisan it was. in fact, it was voted by more democrats than republicans. the chair will recognize our panel of witnesses. first of all, a lieutenant colonel andrew would is a member of the utah national guard and i believe department of interior employee. mr. eric nordstrom is a regional security officer at the united states department of state. ambassador patrick j. kennedy is undersecretary of the department
of state and a frequent witness. mrs. charlene them is the deputy assistant secretary for international programs at the u.s. department of state. i want to welcome you in person to our rules, as the rise to take the oath. raise your right hands. do you solemnly swear or affirm that the testimony you're about to give will be the truth, whole truth, and nothing but the truth? but the record reflect all witnesses answered in the affirmative. please, take your seats. pursuant to our rules and tradition, each witness will have five minutes. please, when you see your time expiring, wrapped up. berndt are prepared statement will be placed in the records. i will take a moment only to admonish that colonel wood, we got yours fairly late, but we understand this is not a regular schtick for you.
for the other administration, i am disappointed. with a 24-hour rule. ambassador kennedy, it is in, but we would appreciate in the future getting it earlier because i think members on both sides pore over it. with that, we recognize lieutenant-colonel would. >> thank you. i am a member of the utah national guard with 24 years of service as a special forces soldier. i was mobilized for the winter olympics 2002, afghanistan from september 2003 to may 2004. for counterterrorism work in southern philippines from august 2007 to may 2008. i currently work for the u.s. bureau of reclamation as an upper colorado regional security officer. i am responsible to reclamation for security program that
oversees 58-significant hazard dams and five western states, one of which is a national, critical infrastructure facility. upon hearing of the death of a ambassador stevens, and later the congressional inquiry, i identified myself to the staff as a person with intimate knowledge of the sicker the situation prior to the attack. i was subsequently contacted and began a dialogue with staff investigators. i made a personal decision to come forth with information and do not represent dod or any government agency. i do need access and placement to meet government leaders and agencies while working in libya. i feel duty-bound to come forward in order to inform and provide a portion of ground truth information. i feel a sense of honor for those individuals who have died in the service to their country. i realize much of what -- much
of my work in libya was entangled in sensitive government work and must be careful not to betray the confidence is placed in me. the killing of a u.s. ambassador is or where an extraordinary thing and requires our attention as a people, as a citizen, i made the determination that this outweighs all other interests. i will risk whenever circumstances may result from my testimony. i served as i security team commander in libya from february 12 to 14 august of this year 2012. i was mobilized from utah national guard in title tense that is reported to special operations command africa, which serves directly enter africom. i was detailed in total 22 status to the department state. the element, as did of 16 members. it is my understanding it was crafted by the national security council to meet the demand security challenges facing the
department of state and a requirement to reestablish diplomatic relations with the post gaddafi or free libya. the sst bond considerable support. in this uncertain and volatile environment. the mission was to support an answer to the chief mission in libya. a work directly for the regional security officer. we provided security support, medical support, communications support, for every facet of security that cover the embassy. as the sst commander, at a seat on the country team. i was closely involved in the support for the rso's secure the objective. we lived more together to locations in tripoli and embassy property in benghazi. thw sst supported security but it's for diplomatic officers in and around tripoli and other parts of libya as the work required. on two occasions, i send members
to benghazi to support and bolster security at that location. the sst was closely integrated with regular diplomatic security agents working for a good for the rso as well as other diplomats teams. a travel to bring gauzy on two occasions with the rso, wants to evaluate a secure situation there and wants to conduct some work for the defense office. i was there a second time in june when the u.k. ambassadors convoy was attacked. i responded with agents in order to provide medical and security assistance to wounded u.k. security personnel. i conducted a post attack investigation of the ambush for assault. and i regularly met with an held frequent conversations with the ambassador stevens and other members of the security team. in june when eric nordstrom rotated out, i was a senior member of the country team the
exception of the ambassador stevens. he lived and worked closely together in an atmosphere that is common to an expeditionary post. ambassador stevens was an avid runner and played tennis as well. thw sst was heavily involved when he ran for it and ran with him on several occasions. the sst provided an important for the country team to soc africa. there was a good exchange of information between soc africa and the rso. there's a great relationship. i reported three times a week through video teleconference and sent daily situation reports. i have the communications ability to provide a direct link to soc of africa. i have the email or documents as much of this was on their
servers and computers -- i no longer have the enan are documents as much of this was on their servers and computers. most of this is from memory. the state department's decision not to extend sst security be on the fifth of august, to reddit our work in this capacity. where the process of changing style -- title back to attend. we work until it up to it with reports us into my military chain of command. the irs of said information on security and threats and a similar matter up his chain of command. while the sound of gunfire subsided from february to april, the situation remains unstable. libyans struggle with the transition government but hesitated to make decisions and were forced to rely upon local and tribal militias of varying degrees of loyalty. in late spring, the pleas were allowed to return to work to help with traffic but were
limited to that only. fighting between militias was common. malicious separated -- they appeared to be disintegrating into freelance criminal operations. targeted attacks against westerners were increasing. in june, the ambassador received a threat on facebook with a public announcement it would like to run around the embassy compound in tripoli. when i arrived in february, three teams were on the crown. ambassador katz was forced -- lost one of his teams. the ambassador struggled with renewing the sst the on april 5. that is ambassador stevens. the second msd team was withdrawn after the departure thecritz. restricted from performing security work only in limited
only to train local guard force members in july. the remaining msd was withdrawn at the same time the sst was terminated. the security in benghazi was a struggle and remained a struggle throughout my time there. the situation remained uncertain and reports from some libyans indicated it was getting worse. diplomatic security remained weak. in april, only one u.s. diplomatic security agent was stationed there. the rso struggle to obtain additional personnel, but was never able to obtain the numbers he felt comfortable with. i hope the information i provide will be put together with datapoint from others. so and after a picture can be obtained. we need to be dedicated to the understanding, to understand the problems has surrounded this attack in order to find a solution. our failure to do so will result in repeated instances that will
allow our adversaries to take an advantage over us. my purpose is to prevent their ability to take the life of another ambassador. or kill another valuable and talented public servant working for the diplomatic service of their country. >> thank you. mr. nordstrom. >> good morning, chairman, ranking members and other distinguished members of the committee. my name is eric nordstrom and i currently serve as a special supervisory special agent with the u.s. department of state diplomatic security. i join the department april 1998 and a surge in domestic and overseas postings including washington, d.c., honduras, ethiopia, india, and most recently as the regional security officer at the u.s. embassy in tripoli, libya. the position i held from
september 21, 2011 until july 26, 2012. at the regional security officer, or rso at u.s. embassy in tripoli, as armed as the principal advisor to ambassadors credits and stevens and security and on for some matters. i am here today to provide testimony in support of your inquiry into the tragic affairs of september 11, 2012. including the murders of the four americans. i had the pleasure of working with ambassador stevens to in the final months of my tour in libya and would echo what many are saying, the loss of ambassador stevens is not only tragic for his family, sad for our country, but his death will prove to be a devastating loss for libya. they're struggling to recover from its recent civil war. my family and i would like to offer personal condolences to
the families of these four patriots who gave their lives in the service of their country. my contribution to our nation's efforts in libya will prove to be only a small part of a wider effort. there are many of us dedicated to the mission in libya both at home and abroad. to my colleagues who served with me and to those who are presently there in the aftermath of this attack, you have your countries sincere thanks and prayers. let me say a word about the evening of september 11. i had not seen an attack of such ferocity and intensity previously in libya, nor in my town of the diplomatic security service. i am concerned this attack signals a new security reality, just as the 1983 beirut marine barracks bombing did for the marines, the 1998 east african embassy bombings did for the state department, and 9/11 did for our entire country.
however, we must remember is critical that we balance our risk mitigation efforts with the needs of our diplomats to do their jobs. the answer cannot be to operate from a bunker. arriving in tripoli in the midst of the libyan civil war, it was immediately obvious to me that the post-revolution in libya was a weakened state, exhausted from their civil war, and operating under fragmented and paralyzed government institutions. they were barely able to protect themselves from armed gangs, gaddafi loyalists, or roving militias. as a result, the libyan temporary government was unable to extend secure the assets to diplomatic missions in customary ways that we have become expected -- that we expect around the world. we cannot rely on the libyan government for security, intelligence, and law- enforcement help to identify emerging threats or to ask them
for assistance in mitigating those threats. in benghazi, however, the government through the february 17 was able to provide as consistent help since the earliest days of the revolution. routine civil unrest, militia on militia violence, in general lawlessness, and motor vehicle accidents were the primary threats facing our mission and personal during my time in libya. as colonel wood noted, in the spring of 2012, we noted an increasing number of attacks and incidents which appeared to target for an affiliated organizations. in response to these incidents, we implemented a number of changes to our security posture. designed to mitigate those threats and disrupt any planning by would-be attackers. those efforts include reviewing and practicing our emergency preparedness drills, most important, we reiterated our request at all levels of
government for a consistent armed host nation security force to support the mission. we also requested security staffing and extensions of the dod secure support team. in my opinion, the primary security staffing issue that we dealt with was maintaining u.s. security personnel, whether diplomatic security agents or secure the support team members, for a sufficient amount time to enable the full training and deployment of a local bodyguard unit. in early july 2012, prior to my departure, post requested continued staffing of 15 u.s. security professionals. either ds field office agents, mobil security agents, or dot sst personnel. plus retention of a sixth agent will -- will trouble turning team that would work with our newly created bodyguard unit.
earlier opposed extension requests for our dod ss team in 2011 and march 2012 were approved. also in march 2012, are requested staffing levels in tripoli of full -- five full- time agents to be permanently assigned there, 12 temporary duty ds agents, and six mobile security ds agents, again, to create our newly crew did a bodyguard unit. our long-term security plan in libya was to deploy an armed locally hired libyan bodyguard unit. due to libyan political sensitivities, armed private security teams were not allowed to operate in libya. that was the case under gaddafi and was the case under the free libya.
our existing uniform static local guard force, both in tripoli and benghazi, were unarmed. similar to our local guard forces that many other posts around the world. their job is simple -- it is to observe, report, and alert armed host nation security or armed response forces, possibly ds agents of that is the case. the use of local nationals as armed bodyguards is a routine practice in the department and often do so to comply with the local firearms regulations of the host nation. local nationals provide us with continuity, local expertise, threat awareness in their community, and language and cultural skills. i am confident the committee will conclude that officers and employees of the department of state, diplomatic six researchers, and mission libya conducted themselves professionally and with careful attention to managing the people and budgets in a way that reflected the gravity of the task.
i am proud of the work our team accomplished in libya under extraordinarily difficult circumstances. the protection of our nation's diplomats, embassies and consulates, and the work produced there is deserving of the time and treasure invested. i am glad to further discuss my expenses and hope it provides beneficial to the committee, the state department, and my final ds agents -- fellow ds agents. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. may god bless our country as we work toward peace in a contentious world. i stand ready to answer any questions you might have of me. >> thank you. ms. lamb. could you turn on your mike, please? that's all right, your first time. >> by name is charlene lamb. and that the assistant secretary for international programs and the bureau of diplomatic security at the department of
state. i have been in law enforcement for 35 years, including 17 consecutive years stationed abroad as a regional security officer in nicaragua, kuwait, guatemala, and germany. i am here today to share best information to date about what happened in benghazi on september 11. as you know, there are ongoing investigations and reviews being conducted, and we are speaking today with an incomplete picture. but as this process moves forward and more information becomes available, we will continue to engage closely with congress. let me begin by describing the actual compound in benghazi. it is more than 300 yards long, and nearly 100 yards wide. the main building was divided into two sections, the public section included common areas
and meeting space. the private section was a residential area that included a safe haven. a second building, building b, housed diplomatic security agents. the tactical operations center occupied a third building. the fourth building on the compound served as barracks for the libyan brigade members. after acquiring the compound, we made a number of security upgrades. among other steps, we extended the height of the outer wall 12 feet with masonry concrete, barbed wire, and razor wire. we increased the external lighting and erected jersey barriers outside the perimeter. we also added equipment to detect explosives as well as in any danger notification system. we install security grills on windows, accessible from the
ground, and included escape when as with emergency releases. there were five diplomatic security agents on the compound september 11. there were also three members of the libyan february 17 brigade. in addition, a well-trained u.s. quick reaction security team was stationed nearby at the embassy annex. all of these measures and upgrades were taken in coordination with security officials in benghazi, tripoli, and washington. i work closely with more than 275 facilities are around the world, determining the right level of security for each one. it is intensive, ongoing, constantly evolving process. one that i appreciate and understand from my own time on the ground as a diplomatic security officer. that brings me to the events of
september 11 itself. at approximately 9:40 p.m. local time, dozens of attackers launched a full-scale assault. they forced their way to the pedestrian gates, used diesel fuel to set fire to the libyan february 17 brigade members barracks, and then proceeded toward the main building. a diplomatic security agent working in the tactical operations center immediately activated the eminent danger notification system. he also alerted the quick reaction security team station nearby. the libyan february 17 brigade, the embassy in tripoli, and the diplomatic security command center in washington. one agent, ambassador stevens and john smith, the permission management officer and a safe haven, at the attackers used diesel fuel to set the main building ablaze.
thick smoke rapidly filled the entire structure. the agent began leading the ambassador and sean smith for the emergency escape window. nearing unconsciousness himself, the agent open the emergency escape grill window and crawled out. he then realized they had become separated in the smoke. so he we entered and searched the building multiple times. finally, the agent, suffering from severe smoke inhalation, barely able to breathe or speak, exited to the roof. other agents retrieved their submachine guns from building b. when they attempted to return to the main building, they encountered armed attackers and doubled back. they regrouped, made their way to a nearby armored vehicle, then drove over to assist the agent on the roof and search